Singer/Talk Show Host Mike Douglas Dies
Fri, 11 Aug 2006 14:43:32
Mike Douglas, a pop vocalist best-known as the host of a daytime TV talk show that ran for 21 years, has died at the age of 81, his wife reported today (August 11).
Born Michael Delaney Dowd in Chicago on Aug. 11, 1925, Douglas enjoyed his first success in the 1940s as an Irish tenor, crooning jazz and pop standards with a big band called Kay Kayser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge. The hits he recorded with Kay Kayser included "Ole Buttermilk Sky" and "The Old Lamplighter." He also provided the singing voice for Prince Charming in the Disney animated classic, Cinderella.
Douglas was actually considering giving up show business when he was offered the chance to host a daytime television talk show in Cleveland. He decided to give it a shot, and by 1963, The Mike Douglas Show, then only two years old, won an Emmy and was syndicated nationally. The show, which featured Douglas' musical performances interspersed amidst chummy chats with celebrity guests, later relocated to Philadelphia and then to Los Angeles. Its success throughout the '60 and '70s, especially among housewives, earned Douglas the nickname, "the Cary Grant of the coffee break."
In 1981, Douglas was replaced with a younger host named John Davidson; the show, which was feeling increasingly antiquated with the rise of late-night talk shows and edgier daytime shows like Donohue, was finally cancelled the following year. Douglas retired to North Palm Beach, Florida with his wife, Genevieve, where he spent the last decades of his life playing lots of golf and occasionally appearing as a guest on other talk shows.
The cause of Douglas' death has not confirmed, although he was treated for dehydration just a few weeks earlier. "He was coming along fine, we thought. It was really a shock," his wife Genevieve told the Associated Press. "We never anticipated this to happen."
--The ARTISTdirect Staff